Republican presidential candidate Tim Scott has announced he is dropping out of the 2024 race, saying voters have been really clear in telling him: “‘Not now’.”
The South Carolina senator’s departure shocked his own campaign staff.
Several told Sky’s US partner NBC News they had no prior warning and only found out he was ending his White House bid while watching his surprise announcement on TV.
Mr Scott entered the race in May with high hopes, with millions spent on his behalf by high-profile donors.
However, he and the rest of the Republican field have struggled in a race dominated by former president Donald Trump.
“I love America more today than I did on 22 May,” Mr Scott told Fox News Channel’s Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy.
“But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters who are the most remarkable people on the planet have been really clear that they’re telling me, ‘Not now, Tim’.”
He is the second high-profile Republican to depart from the race in the last couple of weeks.
Former US vice president Mike Pence suspended his bid to become the next president after struggling to raise money and support for his campaign.
Mr Scott said he would not be making an endorsement of his remaining Republican rivals.
“The voters are really smart,” Mr Scott said. “The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.”
Despite four criminal indictments and other legal challenges, Mr Trump continues to poll far ahead of his rivals.
Many in the party believe the race is effectively over, barring some stunning change of fortune.
Mr Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to news of Mr Scott’s exit.
The former president has been careful not to criticise the senator, leading some to consider Mr Scott a potential vice-presidential pick.
But Mr Scott appeared to rule out serving as vice president, saying the position “has never been on my to-do list for this campaign, and it’s certainly not there now”.